How To Set Up A guinea Pig Cage With Fleece Bedding

Are you thinking about using fleece as bedding for your guinea pig but aren’t sure if it is as good as wood shavings? Well, you will be pleased to know many piggy parents are making the change, and are thrilled with the results. But before you go into a fleece frenzy, it is worth looking at the benefits of this unique material, as well as how to prepare it and line your piggy’s cage correctly. 

Ready to find out more?

Why Fleece Bedding is a Good Idea

For the longest time, guinea pig owners have used wood shavings as bedding for their cavies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but in recent years more people have discovered the benefits of fleece bedding for guinea pigs. Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

  • Cleaning is much made much easier with fleece bedding – If you prepare the fleece correctly before lining your guinea pigs’ cage, it is much easier to keep clean. All you need to do is spot cleaning during the week, and then toss it in the laundry over the weekend.
  • Fleece is gentle on your guinea pig’s feet – As you know, guinea pigs have very sensitive feet and are prone to nasty diseases like bumblefoot. Fleece bedding is much gentler on your cavy’s feet, and perfect for snuggling into.
  • Fleece bedding is environmentally friendly – If you are looking for an environmentally friendly solution for bedding for your guinea pig, look no further than fleece. There is less waste, and it can be hand-washed and hung up to dry, rather than using washing machines and tumble dryers.
  • Fleece is more hygienic – There is a common misconception that fleece is less hygienic than other bedding options, but this is not the case. If it is pre-treated and cleaned regularly, this fabric can actually eliminate unpleasant odours.
  • No more allergies – If your guinea pig suffers from allergies, then fleece is an excellent option. There is no dust at all, and no more respiratory problems.
  • Fleece is fashionable – Fleece is surprisingly fashionable. Etsy has a wide range of fleece liners, hammocks, beds and snuggle sacks to choose from. If you are a bit of a fashionista, then fleece is the way to go.

How to Prepare the Fleece

One of the main reasons fleece has gotten a bad rap over the years is because there is a common misconception that it doesn’t absorb liquids or prevent odours. However, this is definitely not the case. If you have decided to use guinea pig bedding fleece, the first step is knowing how to prepare it correctly. Want to find out how? Carry on reading.

1. Wash the fleece before you use it

Before you place the fleece in your guinea pig’s cage, you need to wash and dry it a minimum of three times. This is because the fabric has a water barrier that needs to be broken down. This process is known as wicking, and once it is done, the fleece is more absorbent.

2. Don’t use fabric softeners or scented detergents

The residue from these items builds up on the fleece, which clogs up the pores and prevents the fabric from absorbing any liquid. Scented detergents can irritate your cavy’s skin, causing allergies and other skin conditions.

3. Drying fleece liners

Weather permitting, you can hang the liners outside or on a clothes dryer indoors. Of course, if you need it in a hurry, tumble drying is an option. We suggest:

  • Not using dryer sheets, because these, like fabric softeners, cause residue to build up on the fleece, making it less absorbent.
  • Making sure the tumble dryer is on a low heat setting. To prevent the fabric from shrinking, don’t overdry it.
  • Before the fleece is completely dry, remover it from the dryer and hang it over a clothes dryer or outside.

Learn How to Layer the Fleece

With your fleece all ready to be used, it is time to find out how best to layer it. This is essential to avoid a soggy bottom (and nobody likes a soggy bottom).

  • The idea of layering is to prevent moisture passing straight through the fleece and pooling up underneath. You can use old towels, mattress padding, puppy training pads or newspaper. The problem with newspapers though is that it absorbs liquid too quickly and can start to smell. 
  • For the fleece to work as effectively as possible, we recommend placing two layers of mattress padding, puppy training pads or towels on the bottom of the cage, with one layer of fleece on top. Don’t make the mistake of thinking two layers of fleece will do a better job than one. This will prevent any moisture from passing through the fabric.
  • Start from the bottom with the padding, and finish off with the fleece bedding on top.
  • Place your guinea pigs back in their cage, and wait for the popcorning and wheeking to start.

Handy tip!

Here’s an idea for your leftover fleece. Use it to make fleecy pillows for your guinea pigs to snooze on, or you could make a snuggle blanket. Another great suggestion is to make your very own little hammock and tent to brighten up your guinea pig’s cage.

If that seems a little too daunting, you could always buy one ready-made. How cute is that?

If you aren’t sure how your guinea pigs will respond to the new bedding, you could always start off using wood shavings and fleece. This will give you a chance to see which one you and your piggy prefer. When you are ready, you can transition over to a fully fleeced hutch.

Now we want to hear from you. Are you using fleece bedding in your cavy’s cage? Was it easy to change over? And do you think the hutch is cleaner and less smelly than before? Better still, send us pics of your piggy’s pimped up pen, so we can share it on our Facebook page


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8 Responses

  1. I have swapped to fleece bedding and am very happy with it – my guinea piggies love it. I actually made mine to fit and have made extra fleece pads. The info you have given is really helpful for anyone considering a swap . It’s definately the way forward. Thanks again for a great blog !!!

  2. I’m trying this and it should be a lot easier, but the hay that I feed the guinea pig is getting really stuck in the fleece and I’m worried it’s going to damage the washing machine. I was hoping this system would save me time, compared to using newspaper and high, so I don’t want to have to hand wash the blankets. Have you got any tips please?

    1. Hi Debbie,
      I shake out the fleece in the garden to get the worst off, and then give it a quick hover it before it goes in the washing machine.

    2. I used to work on a farm where they washed the animals’ blankets, covered in hay and straw much longer than what we feed guineas, in a regular washing machine. I’d be doing multiple loads a day.

      Shake out as much as you can, but it shouldn’t damage the machine.

  3. Hi, we have recently made the switch and for the first few days they seemed to love it. As did I, much much easier to clean and so much cheaper in the long run too. BUT, after we cleaned out the hutch a couple of days ago to clear out some of the old shreddings and food etc. They have been refusing to go up to the ramp to the housing area which is where the fleece lining and hay is (the bottom layer has some hideout boxes on astroturf). They’ve not been up for 2 days now and I’m getting worried. They will stand on the ramp and sniff the air but nothing has enticed them up yet.

    Do you think it might be the detergent I used? It was Fairy non-bio. If it’s not that, what else could it be?
    Should I move the hay to the downstairs or move their veggies upstairs and see if that encourages them back up?

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you 🙂

  4. I wash my guinea pig fleece and towels at 30 degrees with soap nuts and some nappy fresh, I also put some white vinegar in the conditioner compartment for the final rinse. This helps to get rid of bacteria and does not have any strong synthetic odours. I usually hang them out to dry outside. My guinea pigs get very excited and enjoy investigating their hidies when they are put back into their clean enclosure.

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